At Home Fertility Tests

The window of opportunity for conception is small, therefore it is important to determine when and if ovulation occurs to optimize the chances of conceiving. One method for documenting ovulation at home requires a woman to keep a daily chart of her basal body temperature (BBT). Ovulation predictor kits, available at most drugstores, can be a convenient and accurate method of detecting the LH surge that signals ovulation. Monitoring cervical mucous may also be useful in determining ovulation for some women. At home tests include: 

  • Basal body temperature (BBT) charting
  • Ovulation predictor tests
  • Cervical mucous tests
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

Basal body temperature (BBT) is the normal temperature of a healthy person at rest. As a woman starts to ovulate, hormonal changes trigger a body temperature rise of between 0.5 and 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit, although temperatures may still spike on other days as a result of other factors such as cold or fatigue. If temperatures stay elevated for 3 days or more, ovulation has probably already occurred. Women are therefore most fertile in the few days before the spike. As BBT monitoring indicates that ovulation has already taken place, you may need to keep a chart for a few months to predict when ovulation is likely if you have regular cycles. 

Checking the BBT is done using a regular oral thermometer, with digital models being the best choice. There are a few key guidelines women should follow when monitoring BBTs. Basal body temperature should always be taken orally at about the same time each day, usually after waking up in the morning and before doing any activity (e.g. showering, walking).

Charting your BBT is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to determine if you are ovulating. Basal body thermometers are inexpensive and available at most drug stores.

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Ovulation Predictor Tests

During the menstrual cycle, luteinizing hormone (LH) is secreted by the pituitary gland to induce the ovaries to release an egg. An increase in LH levels occurs a day and a half before ovulation. Ovulation predictor kits measure LH levels in a woman’s urine.

Ovulation predictor kits use strips that are dipped into urine, and then read against a color code to determine the LH change. While the tests identify an LH surge, they do not give information regarding whether the ovulation process is just beginning or just ending, and they give relatively little advance notice of ovulation. A woman can test at any time of the day, but should test at the same time each day. This is done over the time span of several days in order to adequately detect the timing of ovulation.

It is important to keep in mind that ovulation kits are typically more expensive than measuring BBT, and may not work well for women with irregular cycles.

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Cervical Mucous Tests

Around the time of ovulation, a woman’s cervical mucous thins to allow sperm access to the uterus and fallopian tubes. A woman can test the consistency of her cervical mucous by collecting some of the mucous between her thumb and forefinger, then spreading the fingers apart to measure the consistency of the mucous. Near ovulation, the fingers may stretch apart 9 cm or more (3 1/2 inches) with the thin, stringy mucous still intact.

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